Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ginkgo Biloba FAQ

Ginkgo Biloba is frequently given to children with DS. Since it is fairly new to most families who have children with Down syndrome, it was suggested that I put some of the frequently asked questions about it up. That way everyone has one place they can go to find the answers and have one link to give to those who have questions. So, here it goes:

"What is the recommended dosage of Ginkgo Biloba?"

The recommended dosage is 5.5mgs per kilogram of body weight after 3 years of age. A kilogram is 2.2lbs.

"What form can it be given in?"

There are both liquid forms & pill forms. Depending on your child's age & ability to swallow vitamins, would decide which would be easiest to use.

"What are the best brands of Ginkgo Biloba to give?"

The best pill brand would be Nature's Way Ginkgold. If your child cannot swallow pills, you'll want to use a liquid form. It is an absolute pain to crush these pills. Ginkgold can be bought through International Nutrition. It should be available at a health food store as well.

The best liquid brand is Honeycombs Liquid Alcohol Free Ginkgo Biloba. From what I hear, this one does not taste bad! International Nutrition also carries this Ginkgo. If you order directly from Honeycombs, you can order a large bottle. But, it is quite pricey that way, so we've chosen just to buy it through INI.

"What is the best time to give Ginkgo?"

It is recommended to give Ginkgo Biloba in the morning. Give the full dose at once.

"What age can I start my child on Ginkgo Biloba?"

Trisomy 21 Research Foundation does not recommend starting GB before 3 years of age, due to a possible risk of seizures. But, there are many families who have started GB on their children who are well under 3 years old with no ill effects. Ultimately it is up to the parents and if they feel it is safe for their young child. Just make sure you do your research and make sure you are convinced it is the right thing to do at that time.

We chose to wait until my brother was over 3 years old before we even started giving him the full recommended dosage. He took some Ginkgo Biloba when he was under 3, but it was not the full dosage. We will be starting him on the full recommended dosage soon and he is almost 5 years old.

"Why Ginkgo Biloba?"

About 5 years ago, Stanford University a big problem in Down syndrome. GABA receptor, an inhibitor, was ON continuously in individuals with Down syndrome. What does this do? It doesn't allow the nerves in the memory and learning area of the brain to work properly or "fire." In other words, the nerves weren't working. To balance this problem with the GABA receptor, a GABA antagonist was used to turn it down. Because Ginkgo Biloba is a GABA antagonist, it is being used in hopes that it will turn down the GABA receptor. Ginkgo has been used for a very long time and is quite safe.

Things to consider when buying Ginkgo Biloba:

There was one thing mentioned on a DS listserv I'm on, that I thought would be good to add to the FAQ here.

When finding a good Ginkgo Biloba supplement you want to make sure of a few things:
1) low levels of ginkgolic acid
2) high levels of bilobalide
3) and that the product is standardized and not substandard

Ginkgolic acid is an undesirable part of GB, as some people can be allergic to that part. The above two products I mentioned are low in Ginkgolic acid.

Any other questions? Feel free to leave a comment here or send me an email (qf @ gotdownsyndrome . net - remove spaces) and I will try to add them onto this post.



Vicki said...

I am a bit math challenged when it comes to measurements, my daughter is 32lbs, any way you can tell me how much the dosage would be? Also, you said there is a risk of siezures, can you point me to information regarding that?
thank you

Qadoshyah said...

That would be 80mgs for her. 2.2 lbs is a kg. So, 32 divided by 2.2 gives us 14.54 kg. Which brings us to 5.5 times 14.54 and that equals 80mgs.

Yes, I will find the info where it talks about the risk of seizures in young children and get back to you on that ;).

Qadoshyah said...

The risk of seizures is hard to find information on. It should be looked into/asked to your doctor, if your child has a seizure disorder. But, if the child is fine, then I wouldn't be too concerned. Particularly if they are over 2 years old. Some people have been using GB with kids under 2 years old, but there is not as much research and years of use in children under 2 years of age.

jun said...


is it safe to take gb when my kid is under some asthma medication?
BTW he was diagnosed with mild autism... he is now on the way to recovery ... will GB help him improve more?

Qadoshyah said...

From what I know, GB is safe with asthma medications.

As far as helping children with Autism, I know there are some children with Autism who take it, so it would be worth a shot.

jun said...

hi again,

Is it true that GB can thin the blood vessels?

Qadoshyah said...

No, GB does not thin the blood vessels. It can be a blood thinner, but not a blood vessel thinner.

jun said...


Ah ok since it thins the blood , is it still recommendable for kids (my son is 5)?
As a supplement , does it mean my son should take it for a lifetime?
When should be the time to stop taking it?
I really thank you for your blogspot. It gave me the courage to take the risk... and i can see an improvement in my son. Thanks so much.

Qadoshyah said...

Yes, it is safe for kids. The only time it may need to be stopped is a couple days prior to surgery and then it can be resumed a couple days after surgery.

I would suggest giving it for as long as possible - possibly a lifetime. Since it has so much potential to help for a lifetime.

You're welcome :). I'm glad I can help!

marlene said...

Hi! Help please! I think I've been giving my daughter too much GB. I've just been researching this and I'm a little confused. We use Honeycombs liquid. I've been giving her a dropper a day.

According to the formula, Aleena should be getting 125 mg/day. (She weighs 50 lbs) According to Honeycombs website, a child's dose is a half dropper - which is an 1/8th of a teaspoon - which equals 500 mg of GB. 500 mg is a lot more than 125 mg. What is your thinking on this?

Qadoshyah said...

No, there's not 500mg of GB in 1/2 a dropper from HoneyCombs. This has been a bit of tricky area for many folks. If anything, from what I've gathered, you may be underdosing her. We give my brother 1 full dropper (he gets 95mgs/day) and I think that's right around 88-100mg in a dropper. I will look into this more though and see if I can get a more definitive answer to help you (and others - including myself ;)) out!

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